Business 101 – don’t open a restaurant or a gym. Why did I decide to open a gym when 80% of gyms fail within 5 years? Simple – I knew that although we have a highly saturated market here in Salem that there was a definite need for a good gym. Good is subjective, but I knew that Salem was missing something and there was an incredible opportunity to create something different, something special. The other answer? This is my dream. I wanted it so badly that even if there wasn’t room for us here, I’d make any excuse to try. In our area you can get a gym membership for $10, a country club feel for a lot more, and then there’s a hundred other small gyms and studios to choose from. What’s missing? EVERYTHING! Community, culture, high level knowledge, and quality. Throw in some tunes, bright colors, and an environment that commands you to improve and change? It’s a party!
As a lifelong athlete and coach I’ve spent the last 16 years living in the gym, working out in every environment imaginable. From my garage, $10/month gyms, country clubs, and some of the most famous gyms in the world. I love exercise and I don’t need much to enjoy myself, but if I could make a dream gym in my head that had all of the right equipment, great people, colors, music, artwork, and most of all a huge community aspect? That would be cool. I think I’d like that. I think other people would really like that too. So that’s what I/we did. Previously I’ve tried to open gyms in 8 different locations that didn’t come to fruition. Some of them instantly didn’t work out, while others made it right to the point where we were going to begin construction. I used to question why those opportunities didn’t work. I found my answer years later when this gym (our gym) finally happened.
As a local gym-goer I had at any given time approximately 4-5 gym memberships. One close to home, several that had equipment I liked, one that was open when others were closed, and then others that I had friends at. As an informal research study I asked everyone I could “hey, what gym do you go to and why”? Any other city that I asked this question I got responses like “oh I workout at ________, it’s awesome. You’d love it. Come check it out”. Basically, showing me that people in other areas were excited about their gym and wanted to share that with others. Whenever I asked anyone in Salem they simply told me where they worked out and a short list of justifications why that were accompanied by all the things they didn’t like about their gym. That showed me that people were choosing the lesser of evils versus choosing a gym that was a great fit for them.
All of that shortly explains why it was a good fit from a business standpoint, but the strongest “why” behind opening this gym was the passion and interest in helping others. Fitness changed my life. By no means was I ever the All-American or an exemplar of fitness. I found my way into a gym as a very out of shape person with low confidence, no self-efficacy, and poor self-image. The gym was a tool and an arena for me to improve in every facet and to be a better person. I had my opportunity to be strong and compete as a professional athlete, but today my goals have changed. Fitness for me is about being healthy, pain-free, and living a long life that’s unrestricted by physical constraints. We’re here to help people get off the couch and into their lives, to help young people learn the foundations for a strong life, and to see all individuals make positive change.
By appealing to everyone you appeal to no one, but we’ve designed our business to be completely inclusive and attract people of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels to make change and improve their quality of life. We’re a family gym and we like to party.